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Psychological Needs 101

Psychological Needs 101

Emotional needs are the subjective conditions necessary for inner well-being. Meeting them helps us feel serenity, contentment, and thriving, while failing to meet them results in frustration, anxiety, and depression. The six emotional needs are understanding, acceptance, connection, love, play, and meaning. Each person has an inner sense of whether these needs are met, making it crucial to cultivate personal and interpersonal actions that fulfill them. Practicing mindfulness, empathy, and sincere curiosity are key in meeting these emotional needs.

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Psychological Need 1: Understanding

We all need to feel understood when we explain something important, when we make mistakes, when we share our passions, and when we feel hurt, sad, confused, or betrayed–when we’re vulnerable. Understanding does not necessarily mean we agree. We can experience deep...

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Psychological Need 2: Acceptance

In order to feel whole, we must have a sense of being accepted. We strive for acceptance. All of us desire to have our whole selves be fully accepted, warts and all. Many of us work to fit in with what we think others will find acceptable, and in so doing, we...

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Psychological Need 3: Connection

At times, we may feel connected to loved ones, community, nature, God, and self. For those who’ve experienced this, you know it can be blissful. Connection is the sense of being integrated. It’s the oneness that we can experience. Our core self desires connection with...

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Psychological Need 4: Safety/Security

We cannot thrive without a feeling of safety/security. It allows us to be okay while we explore, take risks, and make mistakes. A sense of safety and security allows us to be ourselves without fear of ridicule, rejection, reputation-smearing, or violence. We will have...

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Psychological Need 5: Power/Control

Power/control is the ability to act or do. It is to have a sense of agency and self-efficacy in one’s life. Power/Control has a strong connection to discipline, motivation, and encouragement. Power/control allows us to work, to be productive, to learn, to act/do. It...

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Psychological Need 6: Mastery

Mastery is sensing that we are skilled at some things and can improve and possibly become proficient if we work at it. It is the belief that if we try, we’ll get it. If we practice the guitar, we’ll learn to play Stairway to Heaven. If we practice Spanish, we’ll learn...

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Psychological Needs: Summing it Up

Our psychological needs are, in fact, needs. Meeting them in healthy ways is as important as eating healthy food, getting sufficient sleep, and breathing clean air. We can, however, meet these needs in unhealthy ways just as we can eat unhealthy food, be deprived of...

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